Women’s hockey head coach John Marchetti looked at this weekend’s schedule and saw Cornell in bold letters. He remembered last year’s heartbreaking loss in which his team fell 2-1 in overtime, and realized this weekend could be a chance for redemption.
Looking for their second Ivy win of the season, the Bulldogs (2-13, 1-11 ECAC) are thirsty for revenge as the Big Red (5-8-1, 3-8-1) arrive to Ingalls Rink Saturday. On Sunday, Yale will also meet up with red-hot No. 3 St. Lawrence (10-3-3, 7-1-2).
“We’d really like to avenge that loss,” captain Lisa Meyers ’01 said.
The last minute goal that pulled the Big Red back into last year’s match in Ithaca left a very bad taste in the Elis’ mouths. The Bulldogs saw their chances at ending an 11-season drought without an Ivy League win disappear.
“We had our opportunity to win our first Ivy League game in 11 years and it just slipped away”, Marchetti said. “It was a very long bus trip home.”
But those memories only fuel the rejuvenated Elis heading into the weekend. Coming off a 5-0 trashing of Vermont two weeks ago and two close matches last weekend, the Bulldogs are confident.
“We have a semester under our belt,” Marchetti said. “This is a game we can win.”
This ECAC home stand will be Yale’s first of the new year. It will be very telling of the team’s improvement.
“It’s simple for us to gain respectability in this league — we have to win at home against a good team like Cornell,” Marchetti said.
The Cornell game also holds even more importance because Yale only has three more home contests against Ancient Eight foes.
“This will be a chance to prove ourselves to the league,” forward Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 said. “[But] there’s definitely an element of revenge in there.”
Yale matches up better against Cornell than it does against the two other Ivy League foes it will host at the Whale this year — No. 6 Harvard and No. 7 Brown. If a repeat of the stunning Ivy League upset against Princeton — back in November — is to happen, this weekend is the Elis’ best chance.
“We want to revisit the feeling we had when we beat Princeton this year, and I think Cornell is a great chance to do that,” Porcaro said.
Cornell, tied for ninth in the ECAC, will come to the Elm City ready to fight. Big Red forward Erica Olson has been on fire lately, contributing to nine of her team’s last ten goals.
But Yale has its own offensive weapons, most notably the talented combination of the Bulldogs’ three leading scorers on a single line: Meyers, Deanna McDevitt ’03, and Sara Wood ’02.
“They have obviously shown themselves to be instrumental in our offensive production,” Marchetti said.
This trio’s chemistry not only translates into goals.
“The more we play with each other the more we start to click,” Meyers said. “I think that’s going to continue with the other lines, as they too will start to generate more offense.”
The team hopes the momentum gained by many of the younger players from the 5-0 trouncing of Vermont will turn into scoring opportunities this weekend.
“I’m very pleased that some of our younger players are beginning to gain a little confidence in their own games,” Marchetti said. “Those other lines are now becoming more of a factor in the offensive zone. To be successful we can’t be a one line scoring machine.”
After what is sure to be an emotional match against Cornell, the Bulldogs will face off against St. Lawrence.
“Our success on Sunday will depend very much on how much energy we have from the day before,” Marchetti said.
The Saints are on a roll after beating No. 6 Harvard this past weekend.
“St. Lawrence is undoubtedly the most improved team in the league,” Marchetti said. “They have beaten some very good teams.”
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